“Go friend – out, out! Into the cold! Embrace this moment, this moment, this! The next will be the last, perhaps the end. You have only now, friend, only now to make it count. And do so, for me, if only for me, for he who has lost so much at the service of finding the seconds. I dream of moments like yours, with the anticipation of victory. Find her, love her, and make her yours, and make yourself hers!”
This was how he talked. He would ramble on, full of emotion and grandeur after three or four at the bar. He was a good friend, James, the kind of friend I could rely on. He gave good advice, even if he was an idealistic fool. He lived in the moment. He was Shakespeare given temporal reality and form.
And I did follow his advice. I ran, maybe, stumbling a little from the alcohol and the cold, out into the evening which was born of sweat and anticipation and a thousand dreams broken in the middle by the antidote of morning. She was out there, alive as a sculpture, born of marble and sweat, and I wanted her to be mine. I wanted her to bathe in the shower of my admiration. I as vibrant as a snowstorm as I ripped through the February evening, dreaming of a welcome port in the storm.
I loved you, I think. I don’t know anymore. What is love? Modernity has made it such a tricky art, to love one another. To wholly endulge in one another. I have thought of you often, and know that you have most certainly moved on to other bodies with stronger limbs and stronger minds and stronger emotions, but I think of you still. When the night is quiet and I am alone, I have thought of you, and your heartbeat, and your hands. I have thought of your smile, and your manners, and your ways.
I am too sentimental, now, I think, to be writing this letter. We left on good terms, I think. I left on good terms. You didn’t leave. I left you. That’s how it worked, right? With me and you, and me, and you. And the twain shall never meet.
The night was, of course, a thing of legends. As I plunged headlong through the streets the evening became something created out of the rage of hormones and emotion and longing which plunged through my bloodstream to create an absolute desire for her being. My friend had filled me with an irrational longing, an emotion born of poetry which brought me to a new height of expression. It was as if I had never been without her. I felt my blood to be alive without me, free and floating in a mist of warmth roughly approximating a body as I dashed through the streets and tunnels to her home.
It was a wondrous thing, and I too became a wondrous thing, to know that I was far away and yet only so far away, such that I could savor the thought of being there, the thought of arriving upon her threshold to declare my emotion from her. It was an amazing thing to be prescient of the moment and separate from it, to savor the taste like a liquor.
I drove that wedge on purpose. Drove it right through the center of things, to make it more difficult for you to hurt me. But I must’ve hurt you. And you must’ve known that I would hurt as well, though you were strong at the time. So strong that I can’t know how I ever withstood you, to think, me, small and fragile, next to your strength. That is the stuff of fairytales.
But we are both the losers here, moving beyond the love we had. How sad it is to think that we have both lost and neither gained. Though I have no known you in these passing months I can only guess that you have felt the same as I, the sense of loss mixed with a new exuberance over the possibilities which our new arrangement affords us both.
And on her doorstep it was no less than bliss, no less than the complete and total sublimation of religious and venial ecstasy combined to form a complete harmony of body and spirit as I waited to knock, or perhaps to ring, unsure of the proper etiquette to perform when one is in love, truly, deeply in love. I knew standing there that there could be no other existence than to stand upon her threshold waiting for the grace of her presence, sleepy and drowsy since I had waited until early in the morning to have my revelation. But when she did emerge it was as God may have made the revelation unto man, to say that nothing had been as good as this before, to say that this was the epiphany of emotion, and that no further experience could perhaps equate to the raw unbridled beauty of this.
And she brought me inside, and that was perfection itself, to be brought in with the carriage of feeling behind me, behind me the thought and feeling of an evening’s drunkness. I could’ve dreamt of her, there, in her foyer sleeping a inebriated slumber, imagining her, but she was as real as the earth or the stone.
But we have both moved on, and I am sorry for that. I wish that we were different, somehow, that things could’ve worked between us, that we could’ve bled the same blood and saved ourselves from the quiet destruction of loneliness.
Goodbye, now. For now and forever, Goodbye. I wish you only the best things, I swear this. Upon the last I have, I swear this. I have nothing else to give but my word. Even this may not be enough for you, but know that with the last I have I hope for you.
And laying there with her I dreamt ever dream I had ever had, amidst her sheets and warmth. Her person all around us in her home. I could feel her breathing though I could not hear it through the beating of my own heart within my ear drums. It was a thing of beauty, to know her then, to be alone with her. With the lights off it seemed that we gave off our own spectral illumination. The night burned long with excesses of our passion and the very stars gleamed with envy that we had bested them.
We left it alone, then, our emotional content adrift for the evening. There was no more emotion where we were. We were our own, free of things. We had gone beyond the boundary. And there we were, quiet underneath the sheets. Quiet, always quiet, the pulsing rush of emotions silenced by sex and fatigue and love. We were in love then, silent and in love. The best way, in love. We were immortal.
“This is the greatest of things, to live in the moment. To know only ourselves for the moment, and therefore maybe to know the ones we love. Maybe to be made immortal through the ones we love. Maybe it’s best that way, to only live through our love for others. Maybe we should be remembered to be the best of ourselves. Better than to not be remembered at all. That is the gift I give you, friend, the gift of love. To say that I love you and that you may love, that you should love, that you should go forward and know your own love as you will know the sunrise and the sunset till the last of your days. I give you the gift of knowledge, to say that you might live beyond your years. Go forth, go, out into the world. Go beyond this brotherhood that we share. Go and know God, and know glory, and know yourself and the world, for that is all you will ever have before you perish. I wish you the best. I hope and pray for the best, as I hope you pray for my best.”
This was how he talked.